Sen. James I. Manning Jr. of Eugene launched a campaign for Oregon Secretary of State. He would be the first Black Oregonian to hold office in the state’s Executive Branch.
The Democrat kicked off his campaign in front of Mims House. The Gothic-style house belonged to the first African-American homeowners in Eugene after C.B. and Annie Mims purchased it in 1948.
As one of the oldest homes in the area, it is designated a Historical Landmark and operates as a museum. The Eugene-Springfield NAACP branch is also located in the building.
Sen. Manning’s choosing this location to launch his bid for office was a strategic and sentimental move.
Pamplin Media Group agrees it was more than symbolic for the Secretary of State candidate.
Historically, Oregon was not African-American friendly, and his desired office is the second highest in the state.
During his speech, Sen. Manning said, “If there is anything our history has taught us, it tells us we must look with our eyes wide open — acknowledging the past and striving for a diverse and equitable future for all Oregonians.”
Sen. Manning’s Opponent
Two men are competing for the position after Secretary of State LaVonne Griffen-Valade announced she would not seek reelection.
Sen. Manning’s opponent is the current State Treasurer, Tobias Read. Each is seeking the Democratic nomination for the Secretary of State.
Oregon Live reports that both candidates emphasized the need to build trust in the Secretary of State’s office.
The last three elected Secretaries have vacated their terms early. Most recently, Former Secretary Shemia Fagan resigned in May 2023 following a cannabis consulting scandal.
Sen. Manning highlighted the importance of restoring integrity to the office during an interview with The Oregonian/OregonLive.
No one is more qualified than I am to bring a diverse and equitable future for all Oregonians.
The Senator believes he is the person to bring the much-needed stability to the office. He told reporters that he is not looking at being Secretary of State as a stepping stone to a higher role.
As the next Secretary, his priorities include expanding voter engagement and access in Oregon. Furthermore, Manning touted his track record supporting voter access legislation in the Senate, demonstrating his commitment to that issue.
Sen. Manning’s Background
The Senator was the chief sponsor of a 2019 bill that approved paid postage for Oregonians voting by mail. This removed the expectation that voters would buy their stamps.
Moreover, in the Spring legislative session this year, Sen. Manning helped pass bills that increased penalties for harassing election workers.
He also assisted in passing legislation that would automatically register those enrolling in the Oregon Health Plan to vote. This expanded the voluntary automatic voter registration through the DMV.
“I think there might be some other opportunities to help Oregonians because voting is a fundamental right, ” he told Oregon Live. “A lot of people have fought and died for the right to vote.”
Sen. Manning serves on five committees. He Chairs the Senate Interim Committee on Veterans, Emergency Management, Federal and World Affairs.
The Senator also sits on the Senate Interim Committee of Rules and Executive Appointments and the Senate Interim Committee on the Judiciary. The other committees focus on Human Services and Legislative Administration.
Read more about Sen. Manning’s biography and legislative achievements using the link below.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
Your Oregon News: Senator makes his case for Oregon secretary of state; By Peter Wong
Oregon Live: Oregon state Sen. James Manning, Treasurer Tobias Read running for Secretary of state
Oregon State Legislature: Senator James I. Manning Jr. Biography
Featured and Top Image by Sgt. 1st Class April Davis for Oregon National Guard Courtesy of Wikimedia – Public Domain License
First Inset Image by Visitor7 Courtesy of Wikimedia – Public Domain License
Second Inset Image Gary Halvorson Courtesy of Oregon State Archive – Public Domain License
Third Inset Image by Tiffany Tertipes Courtesy of Unsplash